We have two little ranch hands. They helped me put 10k pounds of wood into the ground this week and can pronounce 'hugelculture'. I cut it and they carried most of it. They take care of our chickens, fish and cat. They do the hooves and all other grooming on our goats, and have trained them to do over twenty 'tricks' with clickers. They have assisted with both breedings and births. They carry large feed bags to the goats. They can halter, walk and ride a horse. They watch about 1 hour of DVD a month and they don't ask us for more. When they're on the computer they research how to train animals, how to raise turtles and fish and horses (my oldest is writing me a business proposal for us getting turtles). The last time we were at the library they came home with three horse books each. They climb trees. Big ones. They throw a line over a 10' branch, tie a seat harness, then hand over hand themselves up (I'm teaching them my arborist tricks - foot-locking is next). They milk our goats. They are the constant source of complements from friends and strangers about how hard they work and how nice they are. They have never had a cavity or been sick. They listen to the same podcasts as I do, and read my favorite blogs with me over my shoulder. They weight-lift, ride bikes, and swim with me. They took their training wheels off at 2. They are in the 95+% range for both height and weight. They help me make cheese, kimchee and beer. They can sail alone, and have masterfully skied 1100' double black diamond runs in the Sierras. My girls kick serious ass, and they're 7 & 9. God help the men who try to date them.
ps: We live in Greater Los Angeles.
'Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.' - Hippocrates
In raising one's offspring, and doing the unconscionable, by abandoning them (in those cases) to the public fool system, one has to consider there is no practical difference between believing in a personalized 'god', some deity floating in the clouds, 'watching over all' - self-inciting a paranoia- and it's replacement, the State. Both are said by priests in various robes, scribes, to have 'rules', one is the Statutes or Codes, and the other is the Bible (new, old, green, blue, middle or indifferent). One is a secular copy for the other, however fundamentally-identical, devised for those who have yet to graduate from 'living' under the rules of some alleged scribes that they never met.
A previous ex-partner was already 'married' to that system, which is death/fiction, more so than life, so... that's not something I would ever consider raising offspring in as a responsible and sensible elder. I see the alleged socialization aspect of the fool system, but every one, home-schooled, I've met, is very capable - much more than people of the same chronological age-bracket. And far from having 'socialization problems', all they seem to lack is as much politically-correct or religious mentality. Bad for the scribes, yes.
Thea Olsen wrote:My older daughter's teacher has also been known to rant about homework that is more a time-waster than a learning tool.
From someone who started school at about age 4 and finished my last class 30 years later, I have to agree. Most homework is just and excersize in wasting time. The only homework I ever remember being useful was collecting leaves for Biology class and going to the mall acting deaf mute for the day for sign language class. It is simply amazing how stupid people talk when they think you cant hear them!
But onto the topic of children. In the ago of computer games, I imagine it is hard to get kids to enjoy playing in the dirt. I work with my neighbors kids and I think the best thing they loved about my gardens is getting to pee on the compost pile!
I think working in the garden given different kids different views on life. My brother and I were raised on a farm. Gardening and feeding animals were all we knew for summer. We couldnt take vacations because of the cows and garden. We didnt even realize that that is what some families did in the summer! We just went swimming the the creek and worked the farm.
My brother, who was mostly responsible for the cattle and running the tracter, couldnt wait to leave the farm. He told my mom he had knocked the last of the cow sh*t off his boots when he left for college.
I was a sick child and didnt get to play outside much. The garden was all I had for a long time. I was responsible for the dogs and chickens. My brother and I were both responsible for helping to water the garden, howing and everything else. While my brother left all farming behind, I didnt ever leave and am getting closer to the earth every day.
The though of saying NO to being told (not asked) to go feed the animals or water the garden is laughable now. Our buts would have been busted, we would have had to do the job anyway, and then we might not have gotten supper out of the deal.
But my neighbor has to bribe her children to even eat the food on their plates. They way kids are raised and treated these days makes me wonder, if the grid did crash, how any single one of them would survive. OMG!, what would they do with out their Wii!
Collection of 14 Permaculture/Homesteading Cheat-Sheets, Worksheets, and Guides